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Contemporary Islam

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 287–303 | Cite as

The construction of authority and authenticity in Islamic discourse(s): contrasting and historicizing contemporary narratives from English Sunni narratives

  • L. Cochrane
  • M. Adams
Article
  • 58 Downloads

Abstract

Throughout Islamic history scholars have put forward cases about the ‘right’ way to understand the faith. Focal to these processes is positioning a scholarly narrative as authoritative and authentic. This article contrasts two scholarly narratives of contemporary Sunni Islam as a means to explore how authority and authenticity are constructed. In addition to a critical discourse analysis, the respective positions are contextualized within their respectively claimed classical scholarship. The article identifies the means through which authority and authenticity are justified and it highlights the divisive nature of the discourses, often driven by carefully selected analogies, exaggerations, and the citing of extreme positions as exemplary of the errors of others. The findings have implications for understanding the intolerant, and sometime violent, interactions between Sunni Muslims.

Keywords

Islam Muslims Discourse analysis Narrative Authority Authenticity 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent ScholarVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Independent ScholarCape TownSouth Africa

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